Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Magic Ingredient.

They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so I'll start with an apology for the beet juice stained plate picture above. With all my heart, I wanted pretty pictures for you. I just didn't know it would turn out to be so dang good. It wasn't until the food disappeared that my husband looked at me, sighed and said, "Babe, that was some blog-worthy pasta." I nodded and expressed my disappointment at not having a proper photo. "Just take a picture of the plate," he said. Pathetic, I know, but I will try to compensate by revealing the saucy goodness that I failed to photograph.

A generous soul gave us some of those rolled up egg noodles. You know, the ones that cook in under 10 minutes? They are genius. With some simmering creme fraiche and some sauteed shitakee mushrooms we had a deluxe dinner pasta sauce. In an all time low moment, meant to be shared between husband and wife, I'm sure, I had some sauce on my chin. When my husband pointed it out, I grabbed a piece of bread, mopped it off my chin and ate it. Yep, I'm that barbaric and it was that good.

(A word about creme fraiche. It's fancy, expensive and full of fat, but it's what I like to call the "magic ingredient." If you think your dinner is headed straight to the compost - a dab o' creme fraiche will save the day, any day.)

My cooking skills are less than perfect. Often when something delicious is created, I'm as surprised as anybody else. I didn't get any by-the-book qualities, and sometimes I struggle to share recipes because I play as I go and don't keep track of what I'm doing. This can end in disaster but thankfully tonight it didn't. If you're like me, you will love making this recipe. If you're not like me but still want to try it I'll give you the most exact recipe I can but you will have to trust your nose and tastebuds.

Also, if you think of a snazzy name for it let me know. I'll stick with "Mop Your Chin With Bread Pasta" for now. (See? I need your help.)

Mop Your Chin With Bread Pasta

1/2 package tagliatelle (egg noodle) pasta (about 4 oz)
1/2 package creme fraiche (also about 4 oz)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup whole milk or 2%
salt and pepper to taste
water as needed
1 or 2 large shiitake mushrooms, chopped lengthwise

Coat a large saucepan with a generous amount of olive oil and let warm at medium low heat. Add minced or crushed garlic and simmer until light golden. Pour in 4 oz. of creme fraiche, stirring until melted. Raise heat to medium and add shiitake mushrooms (sliced into long strips) and cover, simmering for about 7 to 10 minutes. Uncover and add milk, salt, pepper and water as needed (taste before adding). Cover again, raise heat a little more and allow sauce to simmer for about 3 more minutes. Uncover, stir, and let rest on the lowest setting.

Boil noodles until tender, remove, drain and lightly spray with cold water (this keeps them from getting too sticky). Ladle the sauce over the pasta and serve. Please note that the sauce will be thin, (I hate to use the word "runny" but it's accurate) that's OK the flavor's still there.

PS. The beet recipe has not been forgotten, don't worry. (There wasn't any sauce left to photograph.)

PPS. Yes, those are my long toes poking out of the picture. I'd hoped you wouldn't notice.

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